NHL Playoff Picks: Updated Series Predictions for Stanley Cup Semifinals

NHL Playoff Picks: Updated Series Predictions for Stanley Cup Semifinals

Sportsbooks have released updated 2021 NHL semifinals series prices, so check out our latest playoff picks!

The NHL playoff semifinals are on the verge of reaching a conclusion, and that means we're just a heartbeat away from the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. Still, we have to actually wrap up the ongoing series first, the outcomes of which remain a bit of a mystery.

Luckily, thanks to fresh odds being dropped, we can dig into NHL playoff picks with updated series predictions for the Stanley Cup semifinals.

Check out the latest NHL betting odds, courtesy of BetOnline:

Series FavoriteBetOnlineBetOnlineSeries Underdog
Tampa Bay Lightning-625+485New York Islanders
Vegas Golden Knights-170+150Montreal Canadiens

As usual, you will want to confirm these NHL playoff odds before deciding on a wager. The top online sportsbooks will update their lines as each series unfolds.

Updated NHL Semifinals Predictions

We will begin with our picks for the Tampa Bay Lightning-New York Islanders series, since they will play their Game 6 on Wednesday, June 23. After that, we'll move on to the Vegas Golden Knights-Montreal Canadiens matchup, which will drop the puck for Game 6 on Thursday, June 24.

As an added bonus, sportsbooks have released prop lines on the series length, so we'll cover that for the Lightning and Islanders. We already made our prediction for the series length between the Golden Knights and Canadiens in a separate article. You can check that out if you're looking to work some additional NHL props.

Series Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning (-625) vs. New York Islanders (+485)

Welp, the Islanders find their Cinderella postseason on life support after what can only be considered a disastrous showing in Game 5. The Lightning sent them to the showers with an eight-goal shutout. Correct: Tampa Bay beat New York 8-0.

One game is a tiny sample, and the Islanders did play this series to a 2-2 draw. But oddsmakers are reading into their loss in a big way. They weren't anywhere near 5-to-1 underdogs beforehand. Betting-line authors seem to believe New York is cooked.

It's hard to blame them. The Islanders looked completely lost in Game 5. The Lightning scored in the opening minute, and before the first period was out, New York found themselves in a 3-0 hole. They ended up pulling veteran goalie Semyon Varlamov after he surrendered those three goals on 16 shots for rookie Ilya Sorokin. The newbie didn't fare much better. He coughed up five goals on 32 shots.

To the Islanders' credit, they have responded well to adversity all year, and their elevated offensive play has, by and large, continued—with the exception of Game 5. We would actually give them the edge in Game 6 at +125. 

For the series, though? Not so much. The Lightning aren't going to see their offense crater for two straight games.

OSB Series Prediction: Lightning (-625)

Lightning To beat the Islanders
-625
BetOnline

Series Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights (-170) vs. Montreal Canadiens (+150)

These odds don't say much about the level of faith in the Canadiens. They are up 3-2 and actually remain the underdogs. You rarely see that.

Risk-takers might want to take a stab at their moneyline so long as it's paying out 1.5-to-1. They only need to win one of two games. That's not a huge ask.

This holds especially true when Vegas continues to deal with goalie drama. After benching Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 4, they inserted him back between the posts for Game 5. He then let up three of their four goals.

Eric Staal and company deserve a ton of credit for pushing Vegas to the brink. They are passing the puck with precision and putting pressure on the Golden Knights' own playmakers before they ever cross center ice. 

And yet, we have trouble buying into the Canadiens over the longer term. Vegas has been able to turn up their offense on command during these playoffs. We actually predicted they would lose Game 5 only to come back and win two straight. We're sticking by that assumption.

OSB Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights (-170)

Golden Knights To beat the Canadiens
-170
BetOnline

Series Length: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders

Predicting the length of a series can be tricky at the beginning. Too many factors must be accounted for—particularly in the NHL, where upsets and major lineup changes are more common.

It gets a lot easier to spot value later in the series. That's what we find here with the Lightning and Islanders.

Entering Game 6, New York has toppled the three-goal mark only once in this series. They seem due for a breakout in which someone other than Mathew Barzal shoulders the offensive load.

Underdog addicts should consider their +625 moneyline to win in seven games. We're more realistic. The Lightning were one of the best two-way teams in hockey this season. We can talk ourselves into them losing Game 6, but they're not being shut down twice in a row—and even if they are, goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy is saving 94.1 percent of the shots that come his way so there's a strong chance they win one of the final two games regardless.

Hence why we like the Lightning-in-seven pick. It is just the right amount of likely, with a payout that exceeds 2.5-to-1. 

OSB Series Length Prediction: Lightning in seven (+265)

Lightning To beat the Islanders in seven games
+265
BetOnline

Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NHL betting:

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